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Midnighters (2018)

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Genre : Thriller-Horror
Country : USA
Director: Julius Ramsay

Cast:
Alex Essoe
Dylan McTee
Perla Haney-Jardine

Summary

Midnight, New Year’s Eve: when all the hopes of new beginnings come to life – except for Lindsey and Jeff Pittman, whose strained marriage faces the ultimate test after they cover up a terrible crime and find themselves entangled in a Hitchcockian web of deceit and madness.

 

 

 

 

When it comes to influential film directors few have been as influential as Alfred Hitchcock. Best known for films like Psycho and The Birds, his vast filmography has become the template for any director wanting to make a thriller. In fact, nearly four decades since his death Hitchcock’s fingerprints can be seen in critically acclaimed movies like Nocturne Animals, Don’t Breathe and 10 Cloverfield Lane. The latest film to take influence from the master is IFC Midnight’s thriller, Midnighters.

New Year’s is supposed to be a time of renewal and change. This is particularly true for Jeff and Lindsey, a couple in a troubled marriage. On the way home from a New Year’s party their lives are changed forever when Jeff drunkenly hits someone with his car. Deciding to try and hide the body Jeff and Lindsey are thrust into a situation they are not prepared for and reveal sides of themselves that should have never been seen.

A mix of home invasion and crime-thriller, the success of a movie such as Midnighters depends on the strength of its cast. Luckily, the cast of Midnighters is more than up to the task. Most impressive is our lead Alex Essoe. Best known for 2014’s Starry Eyes she is flawless as the Lindsey, a bank teller that gets caught up in everything. Not only does she do a good job selling that she’s in over her head but you believe that she has really been pushed to her limits. The other stand out is Annabelle‘s Ward Horton as Smith. Unlikable as soon as he knocks on Lindsey’s front door. Like a pro wrestling manager, he is the perfect mix of slimy and charismatic.

Perhaps the most impressive person to come out of Midnighters is producer and writer Alston Ramsay. On the surface Jeff and Lindsey just seem like a dysfunctional couple that are in over their head. But as the film develops and secrets are revealed the cast becomes more complex with more understandable motives. Yes, they’re doing awful things but their actions and motivations are understandable if reprehensible. That isn’t to say that his writing is perfect.

 

Like a lot of thrillers plot twists play a huge factor in the story. but can there be too many? With every character being so unlikable seeing Jeff and Lindsey do terrible things can become a bit rote. With more twists and turns than a game of Roller Coaster Tycoon at a certain point it starts to get predictable. I also found the movie’s look to be pretty bland.

Not that the directing itself bad. Thanks to Julius Ramsay’s television work he is more than up to the challenge of directing a film. The problem arises when it comes to the set design. With the movie taking place either at night or inside of a house under construction every scene tends to look the same. I don’t need a movie to look like Scott Pilgrim vs The World but at a certain point you get tired of the color grey.

While Hitchcockian can be an overused term to describe a movie it’s absolutely perfect for Midnighters. Whether it’s the twists and turns of the plot or limited use of locations the director’s influence is there. Sadly, the Ramsay brothers aren’t quite there skill wise. Dull sets and one too many plot twists take what could have been an interesting indie thriller down a few pegs. Still, with some stellar performances and a mean streak make Midnighters a new year’s eve worth visiting.

 

Rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

Midnighters is now available on VOD

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2020 Year in Review

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2020 has certainly been an interesting year and whilst there were a lot of exciting new movies that we were all looking forward to seeing in 2020, that we’re going to have to wait a bit longer to see, there have still been plenty of really good films that we were able to watch in 2020 and I’m going to take a look at some of the best films of the year below.

I’ve done my best to try and watch as many films from 2020 but obviously I haven’t been able to watch every single film that was released this year so there will inevitably be some films that I’ll have missed off this list so I apologise if some of your favourite films of the year don’t make it.

Top 5 Action films of 2020

5. Extraction

The action-thriller film starring Chris Hemsworth that was released back in April was an exciting action-packed film that included a 12 minute long action scene that was done to look like one long shot that was truly spectacular which is why Extraction makes my top 5 action films of the year.

4. Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula

Peninsula is the sequel to 2016’s smash hit Korean zombie film Train to Busan and whilst the sequel was much more of an action film than a horror like the first, it had plenty of engaging and different action scenes. I had so much fun watching Peninsula although I do prefer Train to Busan. Full review here.

3. Wonder Woman 1984

After being delayed a few times, we’ve finally been able to watch the latest Wonder Woman film and it doesn’t disappoint. WW84 is full of vibrant, colourful action scenes that manages to top the first film and clocking in at 2 and a half hours, there’s plenty of time for action in Wonder Woman 1984. Full review here.

2. The Gentlemen

It feels like so long ago that Guy Ritchie’s gangster action-comedy film The Gentlemen came out but it was indeed 2020, albeit back in January. Whilst it feels like decades ago that we saw the film it was so much fun. It was full of laughs, swearing, action and it had a great cast too including Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant. Guy Ritchie’s best film to date.

1. Tenet

Tenet was the first big blockbuster back in cinemas after they re-opened this summer and whilst many have complained calling it a bit confusing and quite difficult to hear what the characters were saying a lot of the time, I thought Tenet was phenomenal with some amazing action sequences. Whether it be the booming opening opera house siege, the plane crashing into the building or the grand finale with people going backwards and forwards through time, Tenet was absolutely incredible to see on a big IMAX screen.

Top 5 Comedy films of 2020

5. Happiest Season

Happiest Season came as a really pleasant surprise to me. I didn’t expect to like it that much as I’m not a big fan of Christmas movies or rom-coms but this film was just so funny and full of so much heart that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Full review here.

4. The Half of It

The Half of It is a really charming coming of age comedy-drama film that was released on Netflix in May about a teenage girl writing a love letter for a jock who starts to fall in love with his crush. It probably leans a bit more to drama than it does comedy, I just had to include it in my list because it was a really good film.

3. Palm Springs

Palm Springs revolves around an infinite time-loop situation a bit like Groundhog Day or Edge of Tomorrow or Happy Death Day or so many other films but Palm Springs feels so original and fresh and funny. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti are both great as the two leads giving the film so much heart.

2. Borat Subsequent Moveifilm

It was only in September that we first started hearing rumours that a second Borat film had already been shot and then when the film was released on Amazon Prime in October it brought so many great laughs. The first film came out in 2006 and even though it’s been a while since we last saw him, Borat worked so well in 2020 and brought some much needed humour in the run up to the US presidential election.

1. The King of Staten Island

The King of Staten Island is the semi-autobiographical comedy-drama starring Pete Davidson and directed by Judd Apatow about a Davidson’s Scott Carlin who has to get his life together after his mother starts dating someone who, like his late father, is also a fireman. The King of Staten Island is a really touching and emotional drama film but it also has a lot of funny moments which is why it’s my number 1 comedy of the year and one of the best films of 2020.

Top 5 films you might not have seen

5. She Dies Tomorrow

She Dies Tomorrow was a really interesting film released in the summer by Neon and it followed Amy who thinks she’s going to die tomorrow and this thought becomes contagious and more and more people start thinking that they’re going to die the next day. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I thought it was really good

4. Wolfwalkers

Wolfwalkers was only released this December on Apple TV+ but it’s a really great film with some really incredible animation. It’s about a young girl who finds a mysterious tribe that turn into wolves each night. It’s a really entertaining, adventure film that’s just absolutely gorgeous to look at.

3. The Platform

The Platform/ El Hoyo is a Spanish sci-fi horror that was released on Netflix towards the start of the year. It’s entirely set in a vertical prison with many floors, each containing two people with one platform that moves down to each floor. The platform is initially filled with food at the top but as it moves down there’s less and less food on it for the people trapped below.

2. Another Round

Another Round/ Druk is a Danish film starring Mads Mikkelson (Casino Royale, Doctor Strange) and it’s about a group of school teachers that decide to test a hypothesis that human beings function better when they maintain a constant level of alcohol in their blood. Full review here.

1. Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman is one of those rare films that comes along and completely blows you away by how good it is. It’s also one of those films that it’s better to know as little as you can before you see it so I don’t want to say too much about it but if you do want to know more, you can find my full review here.

Top 5 films of 2020

Here are my top 5 films that were released in 2020:

5. The Trial of the Chicago 7

4. The King of Staten Island

3. Promising Young Woman

2. The Gentlemen

1. Tenet

Hopefully some of your favourites made my lists but if not, drop a comment below to let us know what some of your favourite films of 2020 were.

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Disney

Disney + | Every Upcoming Star Wars Project Announced

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Rogue Squadron

This will be the next Star Wars film to be released and will focus on the fighter pilots made famous in the Star Wars films. It will mark the first feature film in the franchise to be directed by a woman.

Ahsoka

Series centers on the adventures of Ahsoka Tano. A spin-off from ‘The Mandalorian’.

Rangers Of The New Republic

Star Wars: Rangers of the New Republic is a forthcoming live-action television series. It was announced on December 10, 2020 and it will be executive produced by Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau. The series will culminate in a crossover event with The Mandalorian and Star Wars: Ahsoka

The Acolyte

Star Wars: The Acolyte is a Star Wars television series currently being developed by Leslye Headland for Disney+. Headland will write, executive produce, and serve as the series’ showrunner. The show will focus on the emergence of dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic Era.

Lando

Star Wars: Lando is an upcoming event series. The story will be developed by Justin Simien. It was announced on December 10, 2020and will air on Disney+

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Plot undisclosed. Stand-alone spinoff feature from the Star Wars franchise centering on Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Andor

Prequel series to Star Wars’ ‘Rogue One’, following the adventures of Cassian Andor during the formative years of the Rebellion.

The Bad Batch

Rex, Cody, and Clone Force 99 (an unorthodox, elite squad also known as the Bad Batch), look to recover the Republic’s strategy algorithm from Admiral Trench, but a haunting truth awaits.

The Mandalorian Season 3

A lone gunfighter makes his way through the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic.

Taika Waititi’s Star Wars Movie

A brand-new Star Wars feature with acclaimed filmmaker is in development. Get ready for an unforgettable ride!

A Droid Story

A Droid Story is an animated adventure series featuring R2D2 and C3PO set to be produced by Lucasfilm Animation and ILM. “As we continue to develop new stories, the intersection of animation of visual effects, offers new opportunities for us to explore,” Kennedy said (via Deadline). “This epic journey will introduce is to new hero guided by our most iconic duo… on a secret mission known only to them. What could possibly go wrong?”

Visions

Star Wars: Visions, an Original Series of animated short films, celebrates the galaxy through the lens of the world’s best Japanese anime creators. Coming in 2021 to

 

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Action

Free Guy | Official Trailer 2

Free Guy is an action-comedy about a bank teller who discovers he is a background character in an open world video game called Free City that will soon go offline.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Comedy

Release Date:

July 3, 2020

Director:

Shawn Levy

Cast:

Ryan Reynolds, Joe Keery, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, Channing Tatum, Lil Rel Howery

Plot Summary:

Free Guy is an action-comedy about a bank teller who discovers he is a background character in an open world video game called Free City that will soon go offline.

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